Waddell Ready To Test The Water In The UFA Talent Pool

The buzz surrounding last weekend’s entry draft has barely subsided, but Don Waddell and the rest of the NHL general managers are preparing to dive head-first into unrestricted free agent pool of talent today. Soon, after weeks of speculation and rumors, we’ll be able to see just how the Thrashers roster…and others… will take form for the upcoming 2009-10 NHL season.

As we did this time last summer, we gather poolside to watch and observe the events as each team attempts to procure that big-name player needed to help shape their lineups for this fall’s campaign. Our friend Five_Hole has agreed to DJ the pool party…playing an assortment of tunes from the Beach Boys, Jimmy Buffet, Bob Marley and others. And please feel free to stop by the open bar to partake of a wide assortment of adult beverages complete with little umbrellas as we take in the day’s festivities. Tending the bar is the lovely and talented Joyel from TJ’s Bar and Grill!

Hey…and it’s all on the AJC’s tab!

But before we begin…looking around scoldingly….I want to be very clear in the fact that I do NOT want another incident like the one that happened during last year’s UFA pool party happening again today. So I’ll thank everyone for keeping any and all Baby Ruth bars away from the pool…got it!

Oh…and Trixie has informed me that she has been adequitely covered in tanning lotion…so there will be no need for the long line of willing assistants this time.

Now then… as we begin our day, last night it seemed as though a deal as been worked out between the Senators and Oilers that would send former Thrasher…and soon-to-be former Senator…Dany Heatley from Ottawa to Edmonton. Heading back east would be Andrew Cogliano, Dustin Penner and Ladislov Smid. All Heater had to do is agree to waive his no-trade clause and he’d be able to once again force the team he’s under contract with to deal him elsewhere. But this morning…we find out he didn’t do it.

Also, one big name player who has been yanked from the pool recently is Jay Bouwmeester. Just yesterday Cal-GARY was successful in inking him to a 5-year contract worth $6.6 million per season. So he’ll be sunning himself from the deck today.

However, one player who’s been officially tossed into the pool is Nik Antropov… given the Rangers have conceded that they cannot afford the 5-years at $5.25 mil per season price tag he had placed upon himself. So…where does he eventually wind up?

And, who will come away with Marion Hossa? Will Detroit re-sign the winger? If not, where then might he end up?

Speaking of Detroit…don’t expect the Red Wings to make a big splash in the UFA pool this summer, per Ken Holland.

What about the Sedin twins? Are they going to stay in Vancouver or is there a team out there…say Toronto…that will be willing to invest in both of their services? Canucks GM Mike Gillis recently visited with them and left with an offer on the table.

Do the recent rumors surrounding Atlanta’s interest in Mike Cammalleri have any basis in reality and we will see the 27-year old playing on the top line with Ilya Kovalchuk?

What of the future destination Thrasher…or is that, former Thrasher…Eric Perrin?

Will Don Waddell actually be able to emerge from the waters with a big-name, top-four blueliner that will help anchor this defensive corps or highly coveted top-six forward to play alongside of Kovy…or will his swim trunks remain dry until the most coveted among them are already snatched up?

And, though I guess he’s not technically a UFA, The Monster will be making a decision on where he’ll be playing this fall sometime as well. teams like Dallas, Colorado, Toronto and San Jose are currently in the market for his services.

Many of these questions and issues will be answered over the course of the next several hours. So stick around…grab a drink and some sun tan lotion…it’s sure to be quite a day here at the UFA Pool Party!

UPDATE - 7/1 11:28 am: Sedins twins will stay in Vancouver…signing 5-year $6.1 million deals.

UPDATE – 7/1 12:52 pm: Kovalev re-signs with Habs $8.8 mil over 2 years per 990 AM in Montreal.

UPDATE – 7/1 2:12 pm: Hossa signs with Chicago. 12 years, $62.4 million. Holy crap…that will take him to the age of 42!

UPDATE – 7/1 2:32 pm: There is a buzz going around about the Thrashers trading for Kubina of the Maple Leafs. We would send Armstrong and a 2nd round pick to Toronto.

UPDATE – 7/1 2:59 pm: Per Craig Custance…”Colby Armstrong is not part of the Kubina deal. Thrashers not interested in trading Colby”.

UPDATE – 7/1 4:10 pm: The Oilers have signed goalie Nikulia Khabibulin to a 4-year, $15 mil. deal.

:!: UPDATE – 7/1 6:55 pm: ATLANTA TRADES GARNET EXELBY AND COLIN STUART TO TORONTO IN EXCHANGE FOR PAVEL KUBINA AND THE RIGHTS TO TIM STAPLETON!!!

506 comments Add your comment

Smoothie

July 1st, 2009
5:57 pm

Hate to say good-bye to Stuart, but I guess Waddell fully expects Kane to make a serious run at the roster on the LW alongside Marty and Colby. Or perhaps he figures Crabb is capable of providing the same two-way and PK mins as Stuart with more offensive upside. With Machacek and Holzapfel in the system and with Crabb (if re-signed), we have pretty good depth to replace Stuart.

DB

July 1st, 2009
5:57 pm

Good grief LAC, we have plenty of 3rd & 4th liners. I hate seeing Stuart go but Pierre McGuire would eat poop on TV before complementing Atlanta.

kracker

July 1st, 2009
5:57 pm

I like X but this is a goos deal…I just wish Kubina was signed for longer. I like Stuart but you have to give to get.

Sara

July 1st, 2009
5:58 pm

Look I realize the PK is important but jeebus crispies – what’s harder to come by – a legit top 4 d-man or a 3rd line winger?

Talk about a tough crowd to please…sheesh. Would you rather it go back to being Army and a 2nd??

Toby

July 1st, 2009
5:58 pm

Awesome Deal!!!!!! Stuart will be 27 at the start of next season. He’s been back and forth from Chicago like 80 times. GREAT DEAL

EAV Blue

July 1st, 2009
5:59 pm

LAC, not sure if you are joking, but this is a great deal. We have 4 good defense men now and get someone who scored 40 points last year. We lose a combined 15 points from last year.
TSN has nothing but praise for all the Canadian teams, as they should, but TSN loves Burke and get better ratings by talking about Toronto.
I’ll miss X and he’s been with us a long time, but this is a step in the right direction.

goose

July 1st, 2009
6:02 pm

we just traded are best pk player for a older version of hainsey and once again waddel proven he is not smart.

Chris

July 1st, 2009
6:03 pm

LAC–Are you serious? Is it like signing Komisarek or Bouwmeester? No. Does it give us a better batch of defenders than we had last season? YES. XLB was a fan favorite, but I won’t miss his stupid penalties and being out of position when he goes for a bit hit and doesn’t land it.

And chances are Kane takes his spot on the 3rd line playing with Marty and Colby. You wanna watch Evander Kane or Colin Stuart?

goose

July 1st, 2009
6:03 pm

and not even another player just the rights

kracker

July 1st, 2009
6:04 pm

Ummm Bill? Is this why the team put up the signed Exelby mini-stick as a draft party prize? lol Wow! Now it’s a collector’s item! Sort of…

StateBird

July 1st, 2009
6:07 pm

fyi … wikipedia already has kubina in atl. that’s speed!

Smoothie

July 1st, 2009
6:08 pm

I hope Pavel doesn’t mind playing second fiddle to a 19 y/o because it’s going to be tough to beat out Bogosian and Hainsey for 2nd unit PP mins. Perhaps the Thrashers are going to change their PP strategy a bit and move Kovy around the ice more rather than park him out at the left point for 2 mins straight. One real good positive with this trade is it gives us another right-handed shot and more flexibility in making up out blueline units.

Toby & Pavel (what a sight that would be!)

Ronsey & Zatchel

Salmela & Boris (Oystrick in reserve??)

Size, puck-moving, hands and scoring acumen on all 3 units! Perhaps this will work out just fine. And in comparing Pavel with Garnet, it’s certainly a win for the Thrashers!

Tom

July 1st, 2009
6:09 pm

TSN called X a gritty defenseman. Sure will miss the guy and personality, but Kubina is an upgrade. Next step is a Wing to go with Little and Kolvachuk. If we are smart, lets trade some youth for a top line guy on a team with salary cap issues. That would work to keep Ilya in the house.

Brian Burke

July 1st, 2009
6:12 pm

I’m building a team of goons.

Smoothie

July 1st, 2009
6:13 pm

Yup, Komisarek to the Leafs! Burke doin’ his thing with Donnie’s help. I betcha Burkie pays him a king’s ransom tho (prolly $6.5 M per)…sucker in a 3 piece suit!!

Sara

July 1st, 2009
6:14 pm

Komisarek got Hainsey money $4.5M/year

ranallo10 (in AT)

July 1st, 2009
6:14 pm

You’re surprised that TSN (Toronto Sports Network) has more to say about Toronto than Atlanta when discussing a trade between the teams? Pay more attention man, and remember who pays their salaries.

Stuart is the only part that stings in that deal, but if Kubina signs an extension all will be forgiven in my books. This paves the way for Valabik or another defensive prospect like Lewis or Lehman to get some decent NHL minutes for a change…which I think is a good move (play the youth on defense, get them seasoned in the NHL). Stuart is replaceable on the third line by an assortment of current propects, namely Lavallee and Crabb (if signed).

Let’s see if Day 2 through September brings a legitimate top 6 forward to Atlanta. I’m guessing that Waddell is waiting for the big splash to fade and will trade Lehtonen or Pavelec to those that lost out on the UFA goalies. I think he wants to be the one to say “well you didn’t get Khabibulan as your starter, how about Lehtonen though?” (you can interchange the names with Clemmenson and Pavelec and that’s how his backup with potential spiel would go).

R. Stroz

July 1st, 2009
6:16 pm

I believe Waddell may have won a trade. Where’s the defib machine?

Darkhorse

July 1st, 2009
6:17 pm

I just think it’s funny Komisarek(5yr 22.5) just signed with Toronto for less than what we’re paying Kubina next year. Why not just sign him. Not like the Leafs are a better team at the moment. Although don’t ask anyone on TSN that question.

Will miss Stuart, but as others said above, one of the guys in Chicago may be ready for that PK role.

Smoothie

July 1st, 2009
6:19 pm

Twas wrong on the salary numbers for Kommi…he’s getting Ron Hainsey money to be a rabble-rousing goon. $4.5 M per season is about $1.5 M too much if you ask me.

Sara

July 1st, 2009
6:21 pm

Darkhorse – Komisarek does not have offensive upside like Kubina does. And since the name of the game in the Anderson system is all offense, all the time…

Stroz – keep breathing buddy.

Sara

July 1st, 2009
6:22 pm

According to Dave Pagnotta @ 4th period, we are still in the Antropov talks. He is supposed to be down to two teams…

kracker

July 1st, 2009
6:23 pm

Per sportsnet on Tim Stapleton…

Assets
Has late-blooming offensive acumen and impressive instincts. Knows where to go in order to score goals.

Flaws
Is rather diminutive, so he must prove capable of putting up numbers in the North American pro game.

Career potential
Fourth line center.

He’s almost 27…looks like a depth guy

Smoothie

July 1st, 2009
6:25 pm

Zanon to MIN and they probably overpaid a bit at $1.93 M per for 3 years. Nash-vegas also loses Vern the Fiddler to PHX, but they do retain Steve Sullivan. Bet they are really wishing they still had Pevs.

I guess my thinking was wrong in that we’d go after Scuderi or Zanon. DW seems committed to bringing in guys to play capably in JA’s system. Let’s hope that the bonus of a 240 lb body in front of the crease to move camping forwards will make this $3.5 M salary swap worth it. We have so much flexibility with combos now that it’s a bit scary to think we may be quite the dynamic team next season! Dare I dream??

Sara

July 1st, 2009
6:36 pm

God my facebook is blowing up…course the fact that I know lots of XLB fans would have something to do with that. Man oh man I think I called it earlier – I don’t think the Coburn trade got this much heated reaction. Yowzers. Kubina better have another 40 pt season.

GaVaHokie

July 1st, 2009
6:40 pm

I don’t see how anyone can be critical of adding a 40 point scoring, booming shot, 240 lb defenseman…

Lost our best PK player?! You must be joking whoever said that… now, I’ve defended Exelby a LOT over the season for getting PK duty and having horrible PK numbers because he was the best option we had, but he was hardly an asset in that department.

The only thing he was good for was a belly laugh and a highlight bodycheck every once in awhile… speaking of… I wonder how Toronto feels about having Exelby after that monster “epic” check he laid on Sundin a few years ago.

… you know the one.

R. Stroz

July 1st, 2009
6:41 pm

Sara – Waddell better watch out for Gretchelby, cause she’ll kick his butt for trading Ex.

GaVaHokie

July 1st, 2009
6:42 pm

Brian Burke is definitely putting together a team of goons… I wonder who’s gonna score goals for them… it’ll be JUST like Anaheim.

He better find a Selanne, Getzlaf or Bobby Ryan soon.

kracker

July 1st, 2009
6:43 pm

GaVa – I think they meant losing Stu on the PK.

What’s up w/ Kubina? Anybody monitoring the twitter feeds, etc?

Sara

July 1st, 2009
6:45 pm

Stroz – Mr. Gretchelby is already soliciting prayers…hope he’s got plenty of alcohol in the house tonight.

kracker

July 1st, 2009
6:45 pm

sry, I meant What’s up w/ Antropov …another Leaf!

Smoothie

July 1st, 2009
6:47 pm

Wow! Columbus just got worked over by Sammy Pahlsson’s agent to the tune of $2.65 M per year!! 3 year deal for the Swede, but I guess this is insurance against losing Manny Malhotra. They’ll certainly be even harder to score on with Sammy in the fold. But man I never thought he’d get more than $2 M per season.

Sara

July 1st, 2009
6:47 pm

Holy jeebus – Gaborik’s agent is asking for a 10 year $75M contract…that must be some really good stuff he’s been smoking.

Russ

July 1st, 2009
6:49 pm

I like the trade, although it’s not like DW fleeced Burke. It should provide a decent upgrade to the blueline. Yes, there are others who can fill Stuart’s role, but if they can fill it as ably they would have been ahead of him on the depth chart last season.

Ranallo – as far as trading a goalie is concerned, I know there has been talk of that being a position of depth for the Thrashers, but I’m not seeing it. Trading Pavelec would probably not bring much in return and trading Lehtonen would leave the Thrashers with the most unstable duo in net in the NHL to start the season IMO.

Hockey Biltong

July 1st, 2009
6:51 pm

New Centreman Brett Favre reportedly has asked for green M&M’s after each period ends,or he will ask to be traded to the North Stars….

BG33Brown

July 1st, 2009
6:51 pm

Sara, the same people who like X, liked Sutton. IMHO, this is a huge upgrade. We can pencil in Mahacek at the 3rd Line Wing, or Slava, or Kane…depending on. Now we at least have a legit top 4.

Christy

July 1st, 2009
6:53 pm

I don’t know why I still listen to Buck and Kincade on the way home, but I guess hope springs eternal…
Kincade and some of the callers feel that the problem with the Kubina deal is he’s 32 and only 1 year left on contract.
Never mind that same could be said of Exelby’s contract without the benefit of a player of Kubina’s scoring potential and size, and the fact the rest of the defense is so young, that a 32 year old will barely dent the Average Age and can only help in providing experience…. and that 32 is not THAT old for a d-man.

Mr. Heat Miser

July 1st, 2009
6:55 pm

I don’t believe in almost 10 years of marriage I have EVER seen Gretchelby this angry.

Sara

July 1st, 2009
6:56 pm

Christy – the thing everyone has to keep in mind is that we have a lot of very solid D prospects. I really do not believe XLB would have be re-signed after this season and even if he was he would have been 7th easily on the depth chart. This is way better with Kubina because lord knows his +/- can’t be worse than XLB’s and he’ll get us a lot more points.

polskidawg

July 1st, 2009
6:56 pm

I will really miss Stuart, but DW did two good things – traded a D that can’t play in today’s game, and added needed size/grit to the back-end. Now, he all know that he was also doing a favor for his buddy Burke, but it appears that both got what they wanted (Burke created room for Komisarek).

It also improves that chances of Lewis getting a shot at D, and Kane/Spencer/etc. getting a shot at Wing.

I like it.

Sara

July 1st, 2009
6:57 pm

Rawhide

July 1st, 2009
6:59 pm

Mr. Heat Miser – Gretchelby was the first person that I thought of when I heard the news.

Christy

July 1st, 2009
6:59 pm

Sara – don’t disagree. Just some were noting the fan backlash – I was hearing some of it on the radio and I’m sitting in the car and yelling at Kincade everything I mentioned above. And, as you note, lots of D prospects. If Kubina doesn’t work out or sign on after this year, opens the door for them.
I like the deal. I liked X. Going to miss Ron Burgundy, but I’m not going to miss Exelby on the ice when I see Kubina out there…

Sara

July 1st, 2009
7:02 pm

no – I know where you’re coming from Christy. That’s just the explanation I’m trying to offer to my friends that are wigging out. As of right now, none are buying it.

I figure Lewis may come up this year, maybe Oystrick gets re-signed to fill that 3rd pairing. Then Kulda in another season.

Christy

July 1st, 2009
7:06 pm

Thrashers website has a video of interview with Don Waddell already up and running on the trade…. http://thrashers.nhl.com/
Since nearly the 1st thing he mentions is the popularity of Exelby, I’m guessing one of his primary goals being that quick up on the website is to try to limit the backlash…

Mr. Heat Miser

July 1st, 2009
7:11 pm

Yeah the boo birds for Dwad will be out en masse come pre-season.

Tony C.

July 1st, 2009
7:15 pm

“Toronto GM Brian Burke has always liked Exelby because he’s a big-time hitter and he can fight”

Last Thrasher fight I saw was when #17 was body-slamming McCabe….don’t recall X dropping more than maybe once in the past 3 seasons

GaVaHokie

July 1st, 2009
7:20 pm

GaVa – I think they meant losing Stu on the PK.

oh… I realize that… now… sorry.

Chris

July 1st, 2009
7:21 pm

Exchanging a guy who wears goofy hats, does lame impressions and is consistently out of position on the ice for somebody who actually knows how to play defense, will put points on the board and is a quality top 4 defender.

Oh yeah, that’s definitely something worth booing.

Sara

July 1st, 2009
7:22 pm

Tony C. – yeah XLB wasn’t quite the same guy after the concussion.

Saw one phrase though that had me chuckling…PuckDaddy called XLB the kind of player that gives Burke happy pants. *snicker*